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My sister's boyfriend is abusive, what can I do?

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My sister's boyfriend is abusive, what can I do?

Postby AmberCat » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:51 pm

I have an older sister. We didn't grow up together, in fact, we met for the first time about a year and a half ago. We have a lot in common and became good friends.

I dislike her boyfriend, who she has been with for about 5 years. She has a very love/hate relationship with him. She's always saying that he's an asshole, cheat, alcoholic, druggie and that she dreams of leaving him but cant, and she is open about the way he treats her and how she has tried to get rid of him but they always get back together.

She will sometimes mention casually things like "oh, I used to have _______ but Boyfriend smashed it during an argument" or that she's gotten used to him putting her down and gaslighting her, it doesn't bother her anymore and she is now aware that she's not crazy like he made her think.

Ive only met him twice, both at family events where lots of people were there. Only spoke to him one of those times, and he made a joke about killing her beloved dog, but I don't think anyone else heard it. Something about it was just "off".

Ive told her many times that she could do better than him and that she deserves someone who is nice to her. She knows, and is aware its not right that he treats her badly, but says she cant leave him as he wouldn't manage without her. he spends all his own money on alcohol and drugs and its her house and he has nowhere else to go.

I know that he's definitely emotionally abusive, but Ive never suspected it was physical, until now. She was scrolling through the pictures on her phone, showing me photos of something cute her dog did. She flipped through a series of pictures of her dog, then went too far and the next picture that came on screen was a selfie, where she looked upset and had a bloody nose. She quickly flipped back to dog pictures and was like "oh, just ignore that". I noticed a few photos as she scrolled through looking for a photo she took ages ago that were selfies, but ones where she did not look her best and looked unhappy, but no others where she appeared to be bleeding or anything.

We didn't talk about it, although I wanted to ask. I suspect he did it. I don't know what to do.
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Re: My sister's boyfriend is abusive, what can I do?

Postby avatar123 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:07 am

I think you are doing the right things, being observant and reinforcing the idea that she is better off without him. But ultimately it's her decision, and she has to get there on her own.

So if you can be encouraging and build up her sense of self-worth, that will work better than trying to criticize or force her to accept this. Just be there for her and be her friend as well as sister. If you can show her examples of healthier relationships, introduce her to people that truly do value her, that will also help as she'll see another side to things, and he will seem less appealing by contrast. She just needs to learn that her life doesn't need to be like that.

If you see evidence of physical abuse, then you can talk to her about it and let her explain how she sees it, and what she believed happened. But always emphasize that no one has the right to hurt her, that love doesn't mean pain, and that she doesn't deserve that treatment. And if it becomes extreme, such that she is obviously endangered by the abuse, then you can step in and report it to the authorities. But recognize that she may resent you for it, if she isn't there yet, so it would only be to protect her.

It's also a tough thing for you to watch, and not be affected by it. You're a good sister for wanting to help her so much.
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Re: My sister's boyfriend is abusive, what can I do?

Postby Terry E. » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:10 am

All of what Avatar said, .. but understand that with these emotions the issue is extremely complex.

The one thing that I think you need to avoid, is getting upset or exasperated with here or letting her feel you think she is dumb/stupid/ whatever, to not get rid of him. That usually kills the line of communication, which I think her boyfriend may have been trying to provoke in you with the dog comment.

Just be there for here and maybe try and make sure you can accommodate her physically dog and all if she needs to quickly get away. That at least will mean she is trapped emotionally not physically.

It is a hard one.

Good luck
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